As the Buffalo Sabres reach the half-century mark, some things are changing. The unveiled this gold-infused third jersey to be worn for 13 games throughout 2019-20. Their 50th anniversary season will also mark the end of the navy blue sweaters as the Sabres announced a return to royal blue as their primary color for 2020-21.
First let’s take a closer look at this new sweater, which first leaked back on July 23. That initial image was grainy and lackluster, photographed off a computer screen. But seeing it in all its glorious detail under proper lighting... this thing is a sight to behold.
The white is clean, the metallic gold is eye-catching, and the hanger effect is a great historical tribute. But it’s the details that really take this design to a new level. If we push in real close on the leaping buffalo, you’ll see what I mean.
First, they’ve used the updated buffalo figure from the 2018 Winter Classic sweater—something I talked about in May. Then the Adidas designers took it a step beyond by adding this incredible texturing to the logo, giving the buffalo the mane we always knew he had but couldn’t see. In fact, it reminds me a little of the 1996 Sabres logo with the detailed buffalo head.
That’s such a nice touch that will make this jersey especially desirable for a growing jersey collection.
And there’s more. The Sabres will break out the white gloves when they wear this white sweater. Along with that, here’s what the sleeve numbers and sock striping look like.
They’re being extremely consistent across the full uniform with the five-stripe motif—one for each decade they’ve played. It calls back a little to the striping from the 40th anniversary jersey in 2010 but manages, from a distance, to feel like the striping on the inaugural 1970 uniforms. There’s just so much to like here.
Speaking of details, you can’t ignore the hanger effect. The inside of the collar is a trip down memory lane, featuring logo designs from the team’s 50-year history—including, yes, the dreaded Buffaslug. Hey, it’s part of the history, albeit a brief part, and you can’t hide from that.
The crossed swords logo from the 2000 third jersey was never actually a primary logo for the Sabres, so it is a bit odd to see it in this grouping. But if we just think of this as a series of jersey crests from the past five decades, it works.
Finally, here’s a look at how the whole uniform comes together, front and back.
If the nameplate font looks somewhat familiar, it should. A similar design was used for the 2018 Winter Classic uniforms. Eric Bodamer, Adidas senior designer and Buffalo native, explained the choice via Twitter.
We decided a version of the font we used on the 2018 Winter Classic was best. It needs to stand apart from the [home and away uniforms] but also didn’t want to introduce something outside of the club’s DNA. Plus, there’s already historical significance in its design, so no brainer.
Speaking of historical significance, the Sabres quelled any uprising related to fans’ desire for a return to a royal blue primary color by announcing they’ll be doing that starting with their 51st season in 2020-21. They even shared an image of the logo on the pants, tinged with that beloved royal blue.
Part of me wonders how the royal blue would’ve looked alongside the metallic gold on the 50th anniversary jersey. But I would imagine contrast could be a problem. You need darker colors to allow brighter ones to really shine.
Here are the 13 home dates where you’ll be able to see the new sweater in action.
October 5 vs. New Jersey Devils
November 2 vs. New York Islanders
November 29 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
December 2 vs. New Jersey Devils
December 12 vs. Nashville Predators
December 27 vs. Boston Bruins
January 30 vs. Montreal Canadiens
February 6 vs. Detroit Red Wings
February 13 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
March 5 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
March 21 vs. Chicago Blackhawks
March 22 vs. New York Rangers
April 4 vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Since this jersey is white and the NHL uses dark jerseys at home, the teams listed above will probably have to travel with multiple sets of jerseys on their way to Buffalo this season. But it’s probably good news for Maple Leafs fans who’d like to see their home whites from time to time. Often times when one team wants to wear white at home, their opponents will check in with other teams on that road trip to see if they’d be willing to do the same to reduce travel costs and the hassle of carrying so much extra gear.
And the we are. A great look for 2019-20. The promise of an even better one in 2020-21. The next 50 years look bright in Buffalo!